One of M.C. Escher’s most well-known works is 'Ascending and Descending', inspired by the 'Penrose stairs,' a never-ending staircase. 'Ascending and Descending' depicts two groups of walking men: the men walking clockwise, ascend continuously; the men walking counterclockwise, descend continuously. We were riding clockwise.
After sheltering two nights in a rented apartment in picturesque Segura de la Sierra, the rain and my fever were more or less gone. The fog was dense and soon we were wet and cold. But one amazing thing about Spain is that wherever you are, there is often a bar with decent coffee, beer and jamón nearby. And Spanish jamón is amazing!
After some cold and wet hours, a bar suddenly loomed out of the fog, a horse waiting outside for his horseshoes to be replaced, three wild pigs hanging on the wall waiting for customers. A cool place for some coffee and jamón and to dry our rain and down jackets.
The altiplano Campos de Hernán Perea was supposed one of the highlights of our tour. The locals in the hotel bar were unanimous though: there was a lot of snow and it would be impossible to ride a bike there. We decided to go there anyway and to ride until we would get stuck in the snow. It turned out the locals were wrong. What a day! Warnings of doom and gloom turned into perhaps my most beautiful ride ever! Stunning nature, endless views, snow-capped mountains, foxes, birds of prey, and sun. And three men on horses, nobody else.
The next days we were on the Penrose stairs again, climbing and climbing. The landscape was amazing. Beautiful mountains with little villages nestled in the rocks, the Embalse el Tranco (a huge reservoir), lots of olive trees with their beautiful leaves turning silver in the wind, some hike-the-bike-bushes, and more jamón.
We found some nice campgrounds - one day in an olive field, another day next to a sign warning for angry bees. We figured it would be too windy and too cold for the bees to leave their hives. Both evenings the light was amazing while we cooked some noodles and spaghetti with tomato/tuna sauce. Both evenings we were happy to crawl into our warm sleeping bags early.
Some stats: 8 days of cycling, 1 day of sitting out the rain and fever, 579 kilometers, 12,160 meters of elevation gain, about 2.5 kilos of jamón.
Many thanks for the support: Firefly Bicycles, Pedro's, Mavic, Lizard Skins, and Vittoria tires.